If you’ve been reading my reviews, you may have noticed that I am a big fan of the printed software manual and not at all enthusiastic about help files and manuals in .pdf format. And I’ve mentioned that Microsoft’s manuals used to be among the best. Microsoft’s printed manuals are no more, but they’ve joined with O’Reilly Media to fill the gap with books, and their Plain & Simple series is a worthy successor to those fine manuals of the past.
Reviews of technology books, useful or interesting to Windows users
Never has this happened to me before: I start to review this book and I have the final verdict clearly shaped into my mind after only 3 minutes. Ironically, that only made the task more difficult, as I had to make a great effort to lose the preconception, stop thinking about how to gift-wrap this for my grandma, read through and see if Windows 7 Plain & Simple is actually as plain and simple as it seems.
Have you ever walked through a bookstore or a public library and wondered why there are so many books that try to explain software and hardware? There’s definitely a reason for that. The printed manual is, for the most part, extinct. And people still want to know how things work. Years ago, Microsoft put out some of the best user manuals in the business. Paradoxically, as their software grew and included more and more features, the manuals dwindled away, until today you’re lucky to get a Quick Start Guide. O’Reilly Media’s 'Windows 7, The Missing Manual' helps fill the gap between what Microsoft supplies with Windows 7 and what people really need to know.
Has there ever been an operating system that wasn’t annoying? From the day I first used a keypunch machine to make cards for a wheezy old IBM mainframe, through the bizarre syntax used by Commodores, through CP/M’s “you don’t have to be a programmer to get this, but it helps” command structure, through every single version of Microsoft’s operating systems so far--there’s been something in all of them that annoyed me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Fortunately, now we have O’Reilly Media’s “Annoyances” series to help us fight back.
There’s an old joke that goes: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. For many people, setting up a home network is truly the elephant in the room. It’s nowhere near as difficult as it used to be, when you had to buy extra software and hardware and learn a lot of arcane new commands before you could attempt it at all, but it’s still tricky enough that many people need to be guided through the process one "bite" at a time. And what can anyone with a computer do without a network these days?
Wireless is, as the authors of this book state from the first paragraph, everywhere these days. It’s incorporated not only your computer, but in your phone, printer and other devices that are close to your heart. If you’re sick of tripping on the cables lying around in your home, or of the fact that the portable computer is not so portable after all, because “the Internet cable doesn’t reach the couch”, then the idea of a wireless network has crossed your mind a few times. This book was written with the purpose of teaching you, the computer user, not the computer scientist, to install and smartly use a wireless network. Let’s see if the purpose is achieved and if you will be able to do it with the sole help of this book, without calling “the friend that knows about computers” (I know you have one, we all have).
When you have the words ’definitive’ and ’ultimate’ on the cover, and when a book begins with ’Everything you need to know about Windows 7 is right here’, it’s quite normal to start the reading session with very high expectations. Now, let’s see if Windows 7 The Definitive Guide, by William R. Stanek, matches your high hopes.
Are you just starting out with Windows 7, after having used another version of Windows? Would you like a compact book that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and explains just about everything someone encountering Windows 7 for the first time needs to know, without talking down to you? Do you like books that go into just enough detail about all the basics and illustrate everything they’re showing you? If the answer is yes to all those questions, than this book is for you.
Have you ever wished someone could explain Windows 7 in small steps, so that you could be sure you grasped one concept before moving on to the next? Would you like to have a book that serves as both a tutorial and a reference to Windows 7? Microsoft Press has just the book for you. It is called ’Windows 7 Step by Step’ and in this article I am going to review it.
Back in August, we shared the news about us working on a book about home networking. Now, we are very proud to announce that the book is ready. It is called Network Your Computers & Devices Step by Step and it is published by the prestigious Microsoft Press division of O'Reilly Media. Starting today, it is available for purchasing in an eBook format. The print version is coming soon. It just needs more time for distribution to retailers. Read on for more details.
You might have noticed our Windows 7 Inside Out give-away. Before we give the book as prizes, we've thought it would be good to also review it, so that our readers know more about what they will get. Therefore, this article will look in detail at Windows 7 Inside Out, written by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert and Craig Stinson.